Bunny stared down at his sleeping mate. Tabby had curled up on a chair next to Julian’s bed, her lime green hair glowing against the blue vinyl upholstery. He wished he could join her, but the need to stand guard, to protect the ones he cared about, was too strong. He’d almost lost Chloe tonight. Nothing was going to happen to Tabby. Ryan, just as sleepless, was guarding his sister.
Tabby snuffled in her sleep and he smiled. How had she come to mean so much to him so quickly? His gaze drifted across her. The pride he felt in her was startling. Of the three of them, she’d kept her head, dealing with each blow with a practicality that allowed him to lean on her when he’d needed her most. She didn’t even know Chloe, but she’d called Frank at the diner and told him what had happened. She’d called the veterinary office and left a message about the accident, complete with Chloe’s condition and her room number. After she was done, she’d kept watch over Julian, running back and forth between his room and Chloe’s to check in with Bunny and Ryan to see if they needed anything.
She’d done everything she could to take care of all of them, and the only one she truly knew was still unconscious.
He sighed and rubbed his hand across the top of his head, the soft stubble there rasping against his palm. Tabby growled and twitched in her sleep, her fingers tightening around the arms of the chair. He wondered what she was dreaming about.
His mate was an incredible person. He just hoped he was worthy of her.
Bunny turned toward the door, shocked to find his father standing there. He should have known his parents would rush to their niece’s side. “Dad?”
Will Bunsun walked into the room, his wife following behind him. “What the hell happened?”
Barbra Bunsun smacked her husband’s arm. “Will! Keep it down.” She rolled her hazel eyes, but grabbed her only son, pulling him down for a hug. “Ryan’s parents called us. Sweetie, you should have called.”
Bunny sank into the comfort that was his mother. She always smelled of cinnamon and home. “Hey, Mom. I wasn’t sure you were still up. I planned on calling in the morning.”
“You could have called to tell us about Chloe. And you should have called us the minute you found your mate.” Only a mother could look at someone the way Barbra Bunsun was looking at him. Her eyes narrowed and he flushed, wondering why he felt guilty. He hadn’t done anything wrong.
“We caught the first flight out.” Will hugged his son. “There’s no way we’d let you go through this alone, Alex.”
“Thank you.” Bunny blinked back tears. Of all his cousins, he was closest to Ryan and Chloe, and seeing her battered body had hit him hard. God, he loved his parents. William Bunsun might run an extremely busy company, but he always put his family first. “Where’s Eric?” He was surprised that his brother wasn’t right behind his parents.
“Aunt Laura and Uncle Steven are with Chloe and Ryan. Uncle Ray and Aunt Stacey stayed behind with Eric to help run the business.” His mom pulled his face around. “Ryan told us we owe Chloe’s life to Mr. Ducharme, and that we could find you here with your mate.” She looked over at the man on the bed, her gaze snagging on his sleeping mate. “ Green hair?”
Will chuckled. “You were expecting something else?”
Barbra Bunsun gave her husband an astonished look. “I’m surprised he didn’t go for a Japanese blonde with two pigtails on her head and an insane love of fried rice.”
Bunny rolled his eyes. He did not have a Sailor Moon fetish, no matter what that therapist had said. “Mom.” He winced. He hadn’t sounded that whiny in years.
Leave it to his mother to have him feeling ten years old again.
His mother patted his cheek. “That’s all right, dear. I’m sure she’ll fit right in.”
God he hoped so. And he hoped the rest of the family was as welcoming as he knew his parents would be. Because so far Tabby was anything but ordinary.
Tabby sipped the sucky hospital coffee and waited for Alex to step out of his cousin’s room. Julian had insisted that she go check on her, but she didn’t feel comfortable in there with everyone else. Chloe’s parents were hovering over her and, despite how shitty Tabby felt about it, she found herself jealous. Tabby’s parents had never cared that much for her. If they had cared at all, they’d never have abandoned her to the streets when she was fifteen.
“Here, this might make it a little better.”
Tabby glanced at Alex’s mother, wondering again at the sight of the smaller woman. The beautiful woman next to her looked nothing like a mom. She looked like a model, her eyes a startling light hazel, her skin a creamy bronze. The only imperfections were the laugh lines around her eyes and mouth and the light smattering of freckles across her nose. It was those laugh lines that showed her the resemblance between Bunny and his mother. “Thanks, Mrs. Bunsun.”
“Barb, sweetie. And don’t thank me until you’ve tasted that.”
Tabby looked down at the cherry danish in her hand. “Hospital cafeteria?”
“Yup.” Barbra sighed and leaned against the wall. “So. You’re mated to my son.”
Thin dark brows rose, questioning her without saying a word.
“He bit me before we followed the ambulance. Just pushed the jacket aside and bared fang, right in public too.” She took a bite of the cherry danish. She then took a nice, long sip of the coffee so she wouldn’t choke on the dry pastry. She tried desperately not to make a face. It had been a nice gesture, but dear God.
“Um. Is there a convenience store around here?”
“Mm-hmm. That’s as far as we’ve gotten, though.” Tabby froze, her gaze sliding away. “You’re…all right with that?” Hadn’t Alex told her that Tabby was Outcast?
“Are you all right with it?”
Tabby thought of her hotter-than-hell mate and nodded. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine with it.”
Barb smiled, looking relieved. “I was worried. My parents freaked when they found out my mate was white. They didn’t speak to me for weeks.”
Tabby snorted. “My parents are the least of my worries.”
Barb’s expression turned sharp. “Is there a problem I need to know about?”